Simple but effective tips for getting better sound from your phones speaker.

Let’s face it; having a speaker in your iPhone is a nice gesture by Apple, but they haven’t exactly put a great deal of thought into making it sound very good.

Anyone that’s spent any time on a bus or train can attest to the fact that mobile speakers in general just don’t sound that great.  They’re tinny, they distort at high volumes, and they just don’t seem to generate a lot of sound.

There are some third party accessories that promise to increase sound quality and volume on iPhones.  But they’re usually quite expensive and are simply slightly better quality speakers combined with a small amplifier.

But, there are several ways that you can increase the volume and get (slightly) better sound quality from your iPhone.

Check your iPhone settings.

There are two settings under the “Music” section of the iPhone settings menu that can help you get better sound from the speaker:

Soundcheck – Turning this off will stop your iPhone from automatically reducing the volume of your louder tracks, which means you get a greater output from your iPhones speaker.

Volume Limit – Does what it says really, and is very important when using headphones if you value your hearing.  But if you’re using your speaker then there’s no need to have it turned on.  Turning it off will allow you to turn your iPhones volume up to maximum which will again increase output from the speaker.

Don’t use a case

Even a case which leaves the speaker grill open can effect sound by preventing the sound waves from propagating from the speaker.

Think of it the same as cupping your hands around the speaker; you’re preventing the sound from radiating naturally from the grill – instead it’s bouncing off your hand and in all kinds of directions.

Cases can not only effect the overall volume of your iPhone, but also the sound quality produced from the speaker.

Don’t leave your phone on soft surfaces.

It might seem obvious, or it might not, but soft surfaces will prevent your iPhone speaker from living up to its potential.

Not only will things like blankets and duvets partially cover the speaker, but they’ll also prevent sound from being propagated cleanly – in much the same way as a case might.

For best results, always leave your phone sat on a hard surface.  This will ensure that the speaker is free from obstructions.  It’ll also reduce the risk of your phone overheating as soft furnishings (like duvets) will provide more insulation around the phone which can lead to a heat buildup.

Face the speaker towards a wall or window.

For some reason, placing your iPhone near to a wall with the speaker facing toward it will increase the overall volume generated.

Go ahead and try it yourself; put your iPhone on maximum volume and place it on a hard flat surface.  Then, take your phone and position it on a shelf or ledge with the speaker faced toward the wall.  In most situations it will seem louder when facing toward the wall.

Corners work especially well, and tiled or glass surfaces seem to work better than a brick or concrete wall.

Don’t ask me how it works – but it does!

Put your iPhone in a bowl or dish.

Ever heard of a Gramophone?  The old school record player with a brass cone connected to the needle, opening out to a wide horn opening?

It’s a natural trick to amplify sounds by channeling them through a tube of increasing diameter.  Gramophones have no electronics inside to amplify the sounds, it’s all achieved by carefully engineering the path that the sound waves take.

The same principle can be used with an iPhone and an ordinary ceramic bowl.  Place your phone in the bowl (speaker edge down) and the sound will bounce around the bottom of the bowl and be channeled out toward you.  It’s not as effective as a gramophone, but it definitely works, try it for yourself.


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